The 29 Best Milwaukee Restaurants in 2024

Last Updated on February 23, 2024 | 0 Comments
Milwaukee restaurants serve everything from cheese curds to lobster.

Looking to find some great Milwaukee restaurants? Milwaukee is a city known for its beautiful lakeside location and its endless array of breweries. It’s also nestled in Wisconsin, America’s dairy capital, making it a rich combination of local flavors mixed with international influences. From brew pubs to fine and elevated dining, Milwaukee has you covered.

We’ve rounded up a few of our favorites, encompassing the perfect spots for tasty vegan takeout to exquisitely crafted steaks. These are the best restaurants in Milwaukee to grab some lunch or for a uniquely romantic date night.


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Find the Best Food in Milwaukee

One of the best ways to get acquainted with any city’s food culture is to take a food tour, which brings you in contact with a multitude of regional flavors and influential cuisines. Food tours take you from the trendiest, hottest eateries to the smallest, best-kept secrets. You can find food tours in Milwaukee that will take you to the city’s best restaurants, cafes and breweries, sampling all of its unique takes on flavor.

29 Best Milwaukee Restaurants

1. Lakefront Brewery

In a city of many breweries, this Milwaukee restaurant and beer hall is at the top of everyone’s list. Known for their popular tours and a Friday night fish fry, they also host weekly private chalet dinners.

The Vibe

The German-style beer hall of Lakefront Brewery is spacious, with long tables and a tone of celebration augmented by over 20 seasonal and year-round beers on tap. They also have a mobile cheese curd wagon that appears regularly throughout the area.

What to Order

Try this Milwaukee restaurant’s famous cheese curds or deep-fried pickles to start, followed up by a barbecue pork sandwich or sausage flight.

Lakefront Brewery | 1872 N. Commerce St., Milwaukee, WI 53212 | $$

fried cheese curds
via Lakefront Brewery

2. Ardent

Headed by chef Justin Carlisle, this farm-sourced Milwaukee restaurant with a seasonally changing menu is often recognized by food critics and journalists in places like Food & Wine. 

The Vibe

Rustic and contemporary with an open kitchen, Ardent offers an elevated fair in a casual atmosphere that is fancy enough in its menu for an intimate and impressive date night.

What to Order

Try the $95 tasting menu at this luxury Milwaukee restaurant. It includes courses like caviar, beer cheese soup, Braunschweiger sausage and pear sorbet.

Ardent | 1751 N. Farwell Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53202 | $$$$

3. The Diplomat

The Diplomat’s chef and owner Dane Baldwin was recently named “Best Chef in the Midwest” for his work at this classy and comfortable Milwaukee restaurant. 

The Vibe

Lots of wood, innovative murals and plants make this Milwaukee restaurant a favorite for gourmet fare in an accessible laid-back environment.

What to Order

Try the Diplomac, their lux version of a Big Mac. Otherwise, opt for the butternut squash risotto or the beef short ribs with an order of salt cod hashbrowns.

The Diplomat | 815 E. Brady St., Milwaukee, WI 53202 | $$

The Diplomat is a fun and slightly elevated Milwaukee restaurant.
via The Diplomat

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4. Birch

Steeped in the Alabama roots of chef Kyle Knoll, this New American Milwaukee restaurant specializes in charred, wood-fired and smoked meats and seafood.

The Vibe

Chic and contemporary in a wash of neutrals, Birch’s expansive space is filled with light and features a grab-and-go section full of sandwiches, meats, rubs, spices and more. 

What to Order

Popular menu items at this Milwaukee restaurant include their Chicken Under a Brick and whole head-on shrimp. They have a host of meat-centric favorites like pork chops and steak and eggs, as well as famous house-made tortillas.

Birch | 459 E. Pleasant St., Milwaukee, WI 53202 | $$

5. Lupi & Iris

Winner of the James Beard Award for “Best New Restaurant” in Milwaukee, this elevated Milwaukee restaurant hosts a jazz brunch, a Sunday supper and a popular seven-course prix-fixe menu. 

The Vibe

Wavy, sculptural ceilings are combined with chandeliers, creating a dark and dramatic space, making it one of the best warm and cozy restaurants for a date night.

What to Order

The menu at Lupi & Iris is heavily influenced by the Riviera, so try their wide selection of seafood like Dover sole, sea bass and octopus. They also specialize in house-made pasta like ricotta ravioli and linguine al limone. 

Lupi & Iris | 777 N. Van Buren St., Milwaukee, WI 53202 | $$$

Lupi and Iris is a gorgeous Milwaukee restaurant.
via Lupi & Iris

6. Zarletti

This Milwaukee Italian restaurant specializes in the cuisine of Northern regions like Tuscany. 

The Vibe

Zarletti brings an old-world Italian feel to its location amid a strip of newer and trendier spots, with classic white tablecloths and elegant lighting in a room of cozy blues and browns. 

What to Order

Italian classics like the stuffed pork chop and the butterfly squash ravioli are popular. Begin with their well-known starters like bruschetta, crostini and house-made burrata.   

Zarletti | 741 N. Milwaukee St., Milwaukee, WI 53202 | $$$

7. Amilinda

This Milwaukee restaurant specializes in Spanish and Portuguese cuisine, including classic dishes like pergo marinade, adobo sauces and chimichurri.

The Vibe

Eclectic and stylish, the feel at Amilinda is funky and casual, with textures, whimsical art and cultural accents aplenty. 

What to Order

The adobo chicken, the skirt steak and halibut with saffron butter are some of their most popular dishes, along with a selection of decadent desserts.

Amilinda | 315 E. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53202 | $$

a blueberry tart
via Amilinda

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8. Alem Ethiopian Village

One of everyone’s favorite restaurants in Downtown Milwaukee, Alem Ethiopian Village serves up family-style feasts as well as a large selection of African beers, wines and spiced teas. 

The Vibe

Filled with Ethiopian culture and artwork, the vibe at this charming Milwaukee restaurant is laid-back and casual, with touches of bold color and lots of rattan. 

What to Order

Try the gomen (cabbage), various meat stews and yemisir wot (lentils in a spicy red pepper sauce).

Alem Ethiopian Village | 307 E. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53202 | $$

9. Sobelman’s Pub & Grill

Located near Marquette University, Sobelman’s Pub & Grill is a perennial favorite for students and locals alike seeking a good burger at a Milwaukee restaurant.

The Vibe

This bar and grill is lively and casual, filled with old-school sports memorabilia and featuring a huge selection of Wisconsin beers on tap. 

What to Order

Try one of Sobelman’s signature burgers with an order of their famous cheese curds washed down with the Bombastic Bloody Mary, which almost makes a meal in itself with all the garnishes. 

Sobelman’s Pub & Grill | 1900 W. Saint Paul Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53233 | $$

Sobelman's is a classic Milwaukee restaurant.
via Sobelman’s Pub & Grill

10. La Merenda

This casual Milwaukee restaurant known for its tapas options is usually hopping, so be sure to grab a reservation in advance to avoid the wait. 

The Vibe

Bustling and celebratory, rich, warm colors invite lingering and relaxing. They also have a large patio outside with an enormous fireplace.

What to Order

La Merenda is famous for their empanadas and other “Wisconsin-inspired tapas.” Try the pork and shrimp tostadas or the duck confit poutine followed by a s’mores crème brûlée.

La Merenda | 125 E. National Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53204 | $$

11. Guadalajara Restaurant  

Located in Walker’s Point, this Milwaukee restaurant offers classic Mexican cooking and many favorite regional dishes. 

The Vibe

Light, bright and contemporary, Guadalajara Restaurant features soft blue walls and warm cultural accents.

What to Order

Favorites at this Milwaukee restaurant include the chimichangas and enchiladas, as well as a wealth of dishes incorporating house-made mole and birria. 

Guadalajara Restaurant | 901 S. 10th St., Milwaukee, WI 53204 | $

via Canva

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12. Odd Duck

This trendy Milwaukee restaurant is lively and bustling every night of the week, serving up a selection of globally inspired small plates.

The Vibe

Odd Duck has an eclectic DIY aesthetic that guides this space filled with plants, leather booths and various duck-inspired décor. 

What to Order

Try the duck and ricotta ravioli or the black pepper fried oyster mushrooms. They also have a long list of signature cocktails with fun and clever names.

Odd Duck | 939 S. Second St., Milwaukee, WI 53207 | $$

13. Flour Girl and Flame

Initially a traveling pizza outfit, Flour Girl and Flame has made a name for itself at various festivals and public and private events. It now boasts a brick-and-mortar location in West Allis. 

The Vibe

Designed for eat-in and carry-out, this woman LGBTQ-owned pizzeria is operated out of a fun, casual and antique-filled space.

What to Order

The pizza offerings at this fun Milwaukee restaurant include cleverly named pies like the War & Pineapple, Smolwaukee and Crab Rangoon.

Flour Girl and Flame | 8121 W. National Ave., West Allis, WI 53219 | $$

square pizza with two lines of tomato sauce
via Flour Girl and Flame

14. Three Brothers

One of the only spots bringing Serbian dishes to the Milwaukee restaurant scene, this popular spot in Bay View always has a wait for its cash-only dinner, so be sure to make a reservation early.

The Vibe

Casual and Intimate, Three Brothers is an in-demand spot for a romantic and laid-back dinner out. It’s located in an old Schlitz brewery space topped by a trademark glowing globe.

What to Order

The dishes are Serbian meat-and-potatoes comfort food, so try the goulash or their famed moussaka.

Three Brothers | 2414 S. Saint Clair St., Milwaukee, WI 53207 | $$

15. Twisted Plants

With a weed-themed concept and décor, this vegan Milwaukee restaurant is known for its signature burgers with names like Superbad and Pineapple Express.

The Vibe

Emblazoned in neon with “good vibes only,” Twisted Plants’ bright and contemporary space is filled with movie and entertainment memorabilia that fits the theme of its décor and menu.

What to Order

Try one of their famous burgers, served on a pretzel bun with a side of waffle fries. 

Twisted Plants | 1233 E. Brady St., Milwaukee, WI 53202 | $$

Twisted Plants is a Milwaukee restaurant with great burgers.
via Twisted Plants

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16. Sze Chuan

One of Milwaukee’s best Chinese restaurants, this West Allis spot is one of the area’s best-kept secrets.

The Vibe

Tucked inside a nondescript strip mall, Sze Chuan’s bright yellow festive interior is casual and decked out in cultural touches.

What to Order

Try their famous $35 hot pot, the spicy pork dumplings or their Dan Dan Noodles.

Sze Chuan Restaurant | 11102 W. National Ave., West Allis, WI 53227 | $$

17. The Vanguard

Branding itself as a sausage emporium, The Vanguard is a Milwaukee restaurant famous for its unique meats and extensive beer selection.

The Vibe

The Vanguard has an old-world tavern feel, where you order food at the counter and bar amid a bustling convivial group of patrons.

What to Order

Favorites at this distinct Milwaukee restaurant include the burgers, jalapeño cheddar brats, various poutines and fried curds with bacon.

The Vanguard | 2659 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53207 | $$

The Vanguard is a popular Milwaukee restaurant for brats.
via The Vanguard

18. La Dama Mexican Kitchen & Bar

This Milwaukee restaurant offers an elevated take on Latin cuisine tucked inside the bones of a one-time German tavern.

The Vibe:

La Dama features a Day of the Dead-inspired aesthetic with dark walls and candlelight, creating a cozy romantic vibe. 

What to Order

Try the lamb shank birria and an order of the duck confit stuffed jalapeños washed down with a sampling from their wide selection of tequilas or margaritas.

La Dama Mexican Kitchen and Bar | 839 S. Second St., Milwaukee, WI 53204 | $$

19. Carnevor Steakhouse Moderne

This high-end steakhouse is a luxe and exclusive Milwaukee restaurant perfect for date nights and special occasions.

The Vibe

Carnevor has a cave-like feel, with rugged stone walls and white tablecloths, wood beams and a dark candlelit vibe even during the day. 

What to Order

Classic steakhouse fare abounds, including Japanese wagyu beef, filet mignon and other choice cuts. Try the Seafood Fix platter or the lobster mac and cheese. 

Carnevor Steakhouse Moderne | 718 N. Milwaukee St., Milwaukee, WI 53202 | $$$$

wagyu steak
via Carnevor Steakhouse Moderne

20. The Palomino Bar

With its fun and playful horse theme, this casual Milwaukee restaurant is famous for its cheese curds and other small plates.

The Vibe

Casual and laid-back with a corner tavern feel, The Palomino is the perfect spot to chill and catch a game with a neon sign commanding “Don’t Stop Now” above the bar. 

What to Order

Aside from the famous curds, try the crispy chicken thighs, a burger or the brisket among a selection of other hot sandwiches and tavern fare. 

The Palomino Bar | 2491 S. Superior St., Milwaukee, WI 53207 | $$

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21. Harbor House

Located along the lake with a stunning view of the Milwaukee Museum of Art, this Milwaukee restaurant serves up New England coastal-inspired cuisine in the Midwest.

The Vibe

With wide windows and an all-white interior, Harbor House is a great spot for romantic dates and special occasions that require a picturesque view.

What to Order

Seafood dominates this menu, so try the king crab, clam chowder, crab cakes or their in-demand lobster roll.

Harbor House | 550 N. Harbor Dr., Milwaukee, WI 53202 | $$$$

Harbor House is a luxurious Milwaukee Restaurant.
via Harbor House

22. Mimosa

With two locations, Mimosa is an ever-popular Milwaukee restaurant mixing distinctly Greek flavors combined with brunch classics.

The Vibe

Bright and airy, Mimosa emphasizes where they source their local ingredients courtesy of a large chalkboard on display.

What to Order

Their olive oil potatoes with feta and herbs are famous, but many also recommend the mini French toast or the chicken and waffles. 

Mimosa | 9405 S. 27th St., Franklin, WI 53132 | $$

23. Strange Town

This plant-based Milwaukee restaurant focuses on vegan tapas and interesting salads.

The Vibe

Decked out in soothing neutrals, Strange Town’s open and contemporary space is filled with plants that point to its plant-centric menu. 

What to Order

Try the mushroom tartines, the vegetable galettes or the carrot queso, along with one of their creative signature cocktails.

Strange Town | 2101 N. Prospect Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53202 | $$

Strange Town is an incredible vegan Milwaukee Restaurant.
via Strange Town

24. Snack Boys

As its name suggests, Snack Boys is all about small plates and appetizers or, as they call it, “nightlife for your mouth.”

The Vibe

Snack Boys has a strong 1980s-inspired lounge feel, with inexpensive snacks and a fun, lively environment. This is definitely a Milwaukee restaurant made for a lively, low-key good time.

What to Order

Popular dishes include the queso fundido, the seven-layer taco dip and the luxurious caviar-topped tater tots. 

Snack Boys | 2028 E. North Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53202 | $$

25. Mason Street Grill

Located in the Pfister Hotel, this upscale Milwaukee downtown restaurant is great for larger groups with live music nightly.

The Vibe

A mix of shabby chic accents and mid-century modern décor prevails with a large glass wine cellar on one wall.

What to Order

Mason Street Grill has both rotating specials and everyday menu items, including their popular crab cakes, baked onion soup, filet mignon and skirt steak. 

Mason Street Grill | 425 E. Mason St., Milwaukee, WI 53202 | $$$

ribeye steak
via Mason Street Grill

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26. Hungry Sumo Sushi Bar

Often touted as the best sushi at a Milwaukee restaurant, Hungry Sumo features a large selection of rolls and sashimi as well as various other pan-Asian dishes.

The Vibe

Since Hungry Sumo does not take reservations, expect a wait on many evenings to dine in its stylish mural-lined dining room. 

What to Order

Popular menu items include the Sumo pork buns and the spicy ramen bowl. 

Hungry Sumo Sushi Bar | 2663 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53207 | $$

27. Story Hill BKC

The acronym stands for “Bottle, Kitchen, Cup” for this Story Hill neighborhood Milwaukee restaurant.

The Vibe

A trendy spot for breakfast and brunch, the interior of Story Hill BKC boasts lots of room for larger parties. It is also a grab-and-go liquor store with a wide variety of bottles.

What to Order

Try their famous croque monsieur or the wild mushroom hand pie, and start with one of their fresh, crisp salads.

Story Hill BKC | 5100 W. Bluemound Rd., Milwaukee, WI 53208 | $$

a fresh salad topped with fruit
via Story Hill BKC

28. Sorella

This Milwaukee restaurant offers classic affordable Italian fare with great service and large portions.

The Vibe

There is a distinctly rustic feel in Sorella’s large dining room made more intimate by soft candlelight. 

What to Order

Pastas and pizzas abound, as well as classic Italian favorites like chicken parm. They also have deliciously decadent dessert offerings like Nutella cannolis and blueberry-lemon tiramisu.

Sorella | 2535 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53207 | $$

29. Bavette La Boucherie

Located in the Third Ward neighborhood, this James Beard-honored eatery combines a butcher shop with a sophisticated and trendy Milwaukee restaurant. 

The Vibe

Bavette’s boasts a chic wood and brick industrial feel that complements the large butcher counter and eclectic, global décor.

What to Order

The barbecue brisket is a perennial favorite, as is the muffuletta and corned beef tongue for more adventurous palates.

Bavette La Boucherie | 217 N. Broadway St., Milwaukee, WI 53202 | $$ 

a spread of dishes on a light wood table
via Bavette La Boucherie

Milwaukee restaurants run the gamut from from the most casual bite or raucous night out to fine dining experiences you will never forget. Choosing where to eat is always a challenge in a city boasting such variety, but these 29 spots should have you covered as you eat you way through Cream City.  

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